Lawmakers Doubt Agreement On SCHIP Legislation Will Be Reached

Armen Hareyan's picture

State Children's Health Insurance Program

Prospects for "a breakthrough agreement" on legislation that wouldexpand and reauthorize SCHIP "look bleak," and lawmakers expect thatCongress will pass a long-term extension of the program instead, CQ Todayreports. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Wednesday said heexpects Congress will approve an extension of the program beforeadjourning for the year. He added that Republicans would supportincluding additional funds for states facing shortfalls in theirprograms (Wayne, CQ Today, 12/5).


House SpeakerNancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had set a deadline of the end of this week toreach an agreement on SCHIP legislation. Pelosi "is committed tofinding a solution, but if we cannot find one this week, we are done,"a House Democratic aide said. House Republicans said that Democratshave yet to give an official reply to a GOP proposal submitted on Nov.15 (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 12/5).

Democratsopposed the plan because it included a cap on Medicaid incomeeligibility. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), one of the authors of thatproposal, on Wednesday said, "How do you set a deadline thateverything's off if you don't respond to the proposal that's on thetable?" Republicans also are considering a proposal by Sens. ChuckGrassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who have worked closelywith Democrats to craft SCHIP legislation. However, it "is not clearwhether the Grassley-Hatch offer is backed by Democrats," according to CQ Today.

Rep.Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on Wednesday said that "there continue to bemeetings at the staff level" on SCHIP legislation, but he does not knowwhether an agreement will be reached (CQ Today, 12/5).

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